Monday, March 31, 2014

Soft and Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies

I love making these when I need a chocolate-y fix for my week. And that day is today! The cookie to compare this recipe to is, Subway's chocolate chip cookies.  But...mine is better. =)

I've used these cookies for toppings on sundaes, as part of my christmas cookie gifts and have made ice cream sandwiches out of them.  Well..custard sandwiches. We don't eat ice cream in my house, just custard...Culver's custard! Yum!

Enjoy my little taste of heaven!

2 -1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter at room temperature
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 cup packed light brown sugar
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 large eggs
2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

In a large bowl, whisk together flour and baking soda.

With an electric mixer combine-butter with both sugars, beat on medium speed until light and fluffy.  Reduce speed to low; add salt, vanilla and eggs.  Beat until well mixed. Add flour mixture and mix until combined.  Stir in chocolate chips.

Drop heaping tablespoons sized balls of dough, 2 inches apart, on baking sheets lined with parchment paper.

Bake 10-12 minutes or until cookies are golden around the edges.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Regrow 7 Foods From Scraps

It's been a few months since I have been on my P&G Everyday site. While browsing through the articles I came across how we can regrow food from scraps.  Yes, I know that does not sound appealing at all.  But, after reading, you can seriously save so much money on your grocery bill each month, just by re-growing the produce you have already bought. I'm all for saving money on groceries!

Celery: Cut the bottom inch off of a stalk of celery and place it in a bowl with the cut side facing up.  Put a little water in the bottom of the bowl, and place in a sunny place.  After a few days, roots and leaves will start to form. At this point, plant it outside in the garden or transfer to a larger pot.

Potatoes or Sweet Potatoes: Use about a quarter of a potato ( a piece with two root eyes is ideal). Keep it inside to watch to ensure it sprouts, or place directly into the garden with the eye side up.

For the full instructions for how to plant indoors please visit P&G Everyday-Regrow 7 Foods From Scraps

Ginger: Use a piece of ginger with a knob, or one with an arm sticking out the the main body of the root. Soak the root over, then bury it in a pot of rich soil with good drainage.  Be sure to keep the soil most. Ginger does best in the shade or as a houseplant.  It cannot tolerate cold weather or drought.  If given the right conditions, giver is very easy to grow.

Green Onions: Cut off the bulb and roots and place the roots down in a glass of water overnight.  Replant outside or in a large pot the next day.  It will start growing quickly.

Leeks: Cut the bulb off like you would with the green onions, and place it in a shallow glass of water.  Change the water and wash the roots once a week.  Harvest fresh leeks when they're big enough to eat.

Romaine Lettuce:  Cut off the bottom inch of a head of romaine lettuce. Place it's roots down into a shallow glass of water, and new leaves will grow from the top.

Garlic: Plant a single clove of garlic root side down into a few inches of potting soil.  Once shoots start sprouting, cut them back so the bulb will be able to grow.  Eventually you will have a fresh garlic bulb.  Use a clove off the new bulb to start growing another for later.

For more great tips from this article, and other articles on how to grow your own food, please visit P&G Everyday. It is an amazing website!

This post, picture and article is brought to you buy P&G Everyday-Regrow 7 Foods From Scraps 

Watermelon Pickn'

It's that time of the year again!! Farmers Markets will be starting in a few weeks! Growing up, I remember going to many, and I mean many farmers markets with my grandparents.  I always found myself bored out of my mind, but at that time, I didn't have the appreciation for the markets like I do now. My grandparents would buy anything from flowers, to fresh green beans and sugar snap peas.  But, my favorite thing they would buy were watermelons.  I swear my grandpa couldn't pick a bad melon.
So, whether you're going to a Farmers Market for fresh flowers or locally grown food, don't make the mistake of picking a bad melon for your barbeque or block party. Use these simple tips to pick the best melon in the batch.

1. Look for a melon that is uniform in shape.  A misshapen melon can indicate uneven water or care.

2. Find the field patch, the yellow or white spot where it rest on the ground.  The darker yellow the color, the better.  (A white patch is better than no patch at all.)

3. Store any leftover melon in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days.

4. Give it a thump.  It should sound hollow.

5. Pick it up and see if it feels heavy when compared with others of similar size. (Weight equals juice and flavor)

6. Wash the outside of the melon under running water before placing it onto the cutting board; then slice it in half.  Working with one half at a time, slice into rounds, then into wedges, or trim off the rind and cube.

Brought to you by Publix

Friday, March 28, 2014

Cinnamon Apple Chips

Lately, I have been on a cinnamon kick.  I feel like I could put cinnamon on anything and it would taste fabulous. Apple Chips have been floating around Pinterest for awhile now, and I finally decided to try making my own, just to see what they would taste like.  They are flipping delicious! I definitely had to have some patience while making these, they do take some time, but your house smells like fall the entire time. 
Tonight, I'll be dipping these into a caramel sauce for a tasty little treat. 
Enjoy your new favorite chip! 

2 apples
3 teaspoons cinnamon
2 teaspoons sugar

Preheat oven to 220 degrees.

With a mandolin thinly slice apples and place onto a parchment lined baking sheet. Arrange them so they are spread out to one layer.

Mix together cinnamon and sugar.  Sprinkle over both sides of the apples.

Bake for 1 hour, then carefully flip the chips. Return to the oven and continue to bake for 1 more hour.

Turn oven off and let the apples sit in there for 2-4 hours. (Keep them in the oven the full 4 hours if you want a crispy chip)

Store in an airtight container for 2-3 days.

Open-Faced Tuna Melts

Add an extra serving of vegetables into your diet with these little tuna melts. The dijon mustard does give it a little kick.  Next time I might experiment with a honey mustard.

Ingredients (serves 4)
2 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons thinly sliced shallots
1/2 tablespoon Dijon mustard
pinch of pepper
pinch of salt
1 can (6oz) white tuna in water, drained and flaked
1 1/2 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon
1/2 cup broccoli florets (in the picture I used zucchini, either one works great!)
1 cup cherry tomatoes, quartered
1/3 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
2 English Muffins, halved

Preheat oven to the broiler setting.

Combine the first 6 ingredients in a medium bowl, stirring well to coat.  In a small bowl combine the broccoli and lemon juice, toss to coat.  Add the broccoli, juice and tomatoes to tuna mixture. Toss to combine. Sprinkle cheese over the english muffin halves, place onto a baking sheet and broil until cheese is bubbly. Place bread halves onto a serving platter and divide tuna mixture evenly among the bread slices.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Meatless Fridays Week 4---Soups, Salads and Sandwiches

We've made it to week 4 of Lent. For the past week I have been posting quite a few meatless budget friendly meals the whole family can enjoy. This week, I'm going on the lighter side of things and posting soups, salads and sandwiches that can be paired nicely together. Have a great weekend everyone!

Loaded Spinach Salad 
Loaded Spinach Salad Recipe
Recipe can be found at Eating Well

Lemon-Pepper Fish Filet Sandwich
Lemon-Pepper Fish Fillet Sandwiches
Recipe can be found at Live Better America

Butter Bean, Tuna and Celery Salad
Recipe can be found at Delish

Hearty Minestrone Soup
Recipe can be found at Delish 

Creamy Tomato Basil Soup
Creamy Tomato Basil Soup
Recipe can be found at Joyful Healthy Eats

Mushroom-Pepper Whole Wheat Sandwich
Mushroom-Pepper Whole Wheat Sandwiches
Recipe can be found at Live Better America

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Paper-mache #Easter Eggs by Not Martha

I stumbled onto these on Stumbleupon and thought they were the cutest. Filling them with your kids favorite goodies, will make them the perfect addition to their Easter baskets this year!

papier-mache easter eggs
Supplies needed
water balloons
white tissue paper
colorful tissue paper
a 3/4 inch hole punch
a paint brush you don't care about
liquid laundry starch
a sturdy shot glass to hold your egg while you're working with it

For the full tutorial and supplies please visit Not Martha

Cinnamon Sugar Coffee #Cake #Muffins

I've said this before and I'll say it again, I love cinnamon! These little muffins are the perfect on-the-go breakfast, or afternoon treat in your kids lunch boxes. Enjoy! (This recipe can also be made with a mini muffin pan.)

1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 cup vegetable oil
2/3 cup granulated sugar
1 egg
1 cup milk

Cinnamon Sugar Topping
1/4 cup butter, melted
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon cinnamon

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, nutmeg, and cinnamon.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the oil, sugar, egg and milk.

Add the four mixture to the oil and milk mixture and stir until combined.

Coat a standard 12 cup muffin pan with nonstick cooking spray and divide the batter evenly among the cups.

Bake for 15 to 18 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

Turn the pan over onto a wire rack to loosen the muffins out of the pan. Run a knife around the muffins that don't come out.

In a shallow bowl, melt the butter.

In another shallow bowl, combine sugar and cinnamon.

Dip each muffin into the butter, then into the cinnamon-sugar mix.  Coat all sides. Cool slightly on a wire rack before serving.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

25 Creative Ways to #Repurpose, #Reuse and #Upcycle

1. Use tennis rackets as mirrors 
old tennis racket as a small mirror

2. Design old cassette tape cases as gift card boxes
turn old cassette tape cases into gift card boxes

3. Fill a box with skewers to make an all-purpose knife block
use box filled with skewers as a knife block

4. Turn old picture frames into serving trays
using picture frame as serving tray

5. Transform an old door into a frame as a standing mirror
old door frame used as standing mirror

6. Transform an old suitcase into a medicine cabinet
suitcase upcycled into medicine cabinet in bathroom

7. Plug holes in a fence with marbles
marbles used to plug holes in outdoor fences

8. Use an empty Kleenex box as a bag dispenser
using empty kleenex box as grocery bag dispenser

9. Turn an old door frame into a coffee table
old door turned into coffee table

10. Use an old bulletin board as a jewelry organizer
using bulletin board as jewellery organizer

11. Transform a chair into a towel rack and shelf
use an old chair as bathroom towel rack and shelf

12. Upcycle old mugs, bottles and bowls into light fixtures
light fixtures made from wine bottles ceramic mugs buckets and bowls

13. Use a pipe with valves as a coat rack
pipe with valves as coat rack

14. Upcycle old light bulbs into candles 
old lightbulb turned into candle

15. Turn old utensils into wall hooks
using old utensils as wall hooks

16. Use shower hooks as bag holders in a closet
Use Shower Hooks in Closet as Bag Holders

17. Turn old credit cards into guitar picks
stamping old credit cards into guitar picks

18.  Turn old wrenches into wall hooks
wrenches bent into wall hooks

19. Use a paper towel holder as a ribbon holder
using paper towel holder a a ribbon holder

20. Organize your pantry with a hanging shoe rack
old hanging shoe rack into pantry organizer

21. Use a six pack as a condiment carrier at your next cookout
using six pack of beer case as condiment carrier

22. Repurpose a card catalogue into a mini bar
 turning library card catalogue into bar stand

23. Use mason jars to carry your salad
using mason jars to transport your salad

24. Turn your old magazines into coasters

25. Transform spaghetti jars into canisters

Brought to you by Pinterest Pinners 

Tuna Cakes

Simple and delicious. A great option for your family's meatless dinner night.

Ingredients (makes 4 large cakes or 8 small cakes)
2 (4oz) cans tuna in water, well-drained in a colander
1 cup diced wheat bread 
1/4 cup mayonnaise or greek yogurt 
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 cup chopped parsley
2 tablespoon olive oil (for frying)

Mix all the ingredients together in a large bowl, except for the oil.  Heat the oil in large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Form mixture into patties. When the oil is hot, gently place the patties into the skillet.  Fry cakes for 2 minutes on each side or until golden brown.  Serve immediately. 

Monday, March 24, 2014

Budget Cooking-Fettuccini with Olive Oil, Garlic and Red Peppers

This recipe is brought to you by Cooking Light

Ingredients (Serves 4)
1/4 cup olive oil, divided
3 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
6 quarts water 
3-1/4 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
8 ounces uncooked fettuccine
1/2 cup grated fresh Parmesan cheese
1/3 cup coarsely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley 

Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add 2 tablespoons oil; swirl to coat. Add garlic; cooking 30 seconds, stirring constantly. Stir in pepper. Remove from heat.

Bring 6 quarts water and 1 tablespoon salt to a boil in large pot. Add pasta; cook for 8 minutes or until almost al dente. Drain pasta in a colander over a bowl, reserving 1/2 cup cooking liquid. Add hot pasta, reserved cooking liquid, remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt and cheese to garlic mixture. Increase heat to medium-high; cook 2 minutes or until pasta is al-dente, tossing to combine. Remove from heat. Add parsley; toss. Place 1-1/2 cups pasta on each of 4 plates; drizzle each serving with 1-1/2 teaspoons olive oil.

Pancake Poppers

When this idea started floating around Pinterest I knew I had to try it. Growing up, pancakes were always for breakfast Saturday mornings. Without a doubt, my Dad would always be in the kitchen flipping those flapjacks for my sister and I. They were delicious and so buttery. Eventually I grew up and he taught me how to make them, just like him. 
This recipe originally calls for a mini muffin pan. I don't own a mini muffin pan, so I took the liberty to try a regular muffin pan with liners. It was a success. They are light, fluffy and buttery just like my Dad's were. 
Pancake Poppers can be made as a plain pancake or filled with mini chocolate chips, blueberries, and mashed bananas with cinnamon.  

Ingredients Makes 24 mini muffins or 12 regular sized muffins
1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoons slat
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
1 cup plus 1 tablespoon milk
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1 large egg white
1/2 cup mini chocolate chips, optional

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.  Spray a muffin pan or mini muffin pan with nonstick cooking spray or line with liners.  Set aside.

In a bowl combine the flour, baking powder, salt and sugar.  Add the milk, 1 whole egg, vanilla, and melted butter.  Whisk until mostly smooth.  Don't over mix.  It's okay if some lumps remain.  In another bowl, beat remaining egg white until smooth peaks form.  Gently fold into batter until incorporated.  Add mini chocolate chips, if using, or any other filling you may want to use.

Using a cookie scoop, fill each muffin cup with pancake batter (fill almost all the way) and place in the oven. Bake for 12 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Immediately invert pancake poppers onto a wire rack and let cool for 5 minutes or until they're safe to handle. Serve with your favorite toppings. 

This recipe has been created by Deliciously Yum

Fruity Pebble Rice Krispy Treats

This recipe brought to you by The Novice Chef

4 tablespoons butter
10oz marshmallows
6 cups Fruity Pebbles
popsicle sticks
white chocolate, for dipping

Great a 9x13in baking dish.  Melt butter in a pan over medium heat.  When melted, add marshmallows and stir until melted.  Remove from heat.

Add cereal and mix well.  Pour contents into baking dish and spread evenly.  When cooled, cut into rectangles and insert popsicle stick.

Heat chocolate in microwave safe bowl at half power in 30 second intervals, until fully melted. Dip top into white chocolate and sprinkle with extra fruity pebbles if you wish!

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Dye-Free Easter Eggs

This craft is brought to you by Parents

Supplies you'll need...
Floral paper napkins
foam brush
Elmer's glue
blown-out or ceramic eggs
small roll of tape

Cut flowers or desired design from paper napkins.  If using 2-ply napkins, peel away the thin white paper backing from the cutout napkin pieces (this will make it easier to glue to the egg). Use a foam brush to apple glue to half of the egg, then press a napkin flower on top and cover with a thin layer of glue.  Add more napkin flowers, one by one, making sure to brush the top of each with glue. Place the half covered egg on the roll of tape and let dry for about 15 minutes, then repeat for the other half of the egg.  When completely covered, set the egg on roll of tape and let it dry overnight. 

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Peep Filled Oreos


Gently separate the oreos and remove the cream filling.
Cut a peep in half and place one half onto each cookie.
Heat in the microwave for 10-15 seconds.
Place the tops back on and push down.

For more Peep cookie ideas please check out Peep S'mores

Peep S'mores

Graham Crackers
Hersheys Chocolate Bars or Chips

Assemble just like you would a S'more.
Heat in the microwave for 10-15 seconds.

Friday, March 21, 2014

Dress Up An Old Crock

Spring has finally arrived! For months now I have been wanting to dress up my grandparents antique crock that sits in our entryway, but still preserve it's history and charm.
While wandering around Hobby Lobby I noticed that all floral stems were 50% off. There were so many gorgeous colors in those aisles. I knew exactly how to show off my family's history.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Meatless Fridays Week 3

Ingredients Serves 4
1/4 cup chicken broth or vegetable broth- low sodium
1 cup frozen broccoli
1-1/2 cup instant rice
1-1/2 cup chicken broth or vegetable broth-low sodium
2 tablespoons butter
3 garlic cloves minced
1 tablespoon milk
1 cup fully cook shrimp, peeled, deveined and tails removed
2 red bell peppers-seeds removed, and sliced in half
1/2 cup Colby and Monterey Jack Cheese

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Line a baking sheet with tin foil and lightly spray with cooking spray.

In a small sauce pan bring 1/4 cup chicken or vegetable broth and broccoli to a boil. Remove from heat and set aside.

In another sauce pan prepare rice according to package directions, using 1-1/2 cup broth.

Melt 2 tablespoons butter into a small skillet and heat minced garlic cloves until butter is fragrant.

Remove broccoli from saucepan and place into a blender or food processor with 1 tablespoon of broth and milk. Blend until smooth.

Pour the broccoli mixture, and garlic butter, into rice and mix.

Roughly chop the fully cooked shrimp and stir into the rice. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Place cleaned peppers onto the prepared baking sheet, cleaned side up.  Sprinkle with salt.

Fill each pepper half with rice and shrimp mixture, dividing evenly among the peppers.

Bake for 15-20 minutes.  Sprinkle with cheese and bake for another 5-10 mintues until the peppers are soft and cheese has melted.

Serve warm.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Sweet Chili Shrimp Tacos

1 cup fully cooked shrimp-peeled, deveined and tails removed (found in the freezer aisle)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 garlic clove, chopped
salt and pepper to taste

1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon honey
1 tablespoon cider vinegar
1-1/2 teaspoons chili sauce

In a large bowl season shrimp with salt and pepper. Set aside.

In a small bowl, combine all of the sauce ingredients. Set aside.

In a skillet, over medium heat, heat olive oil and garlic for 1 minute.

Reduce heat and add in shrimp.  Toss to coat shrimp in the olive oil. Continue stirring for 2-3 minutes.

Add the sauce and stir to coat all the shrimp.

Fill each soft taco with shredded lettuce, (I used romaine) and top with shrimp and sauce. Sprinkle with Colby Monterey Jack Cheese if desired.